Sunday, January 10, 2010
In telecommunications, RS-232 (Recommended Standard 232) is a standard for serial binary data signals connecting between a DTE (Data Terminal Equipment) and a DCE (Data Circuit-terminating Equipment). It is commonly used in computer serial ports. A similar ITU-T standard is V.24.
The standard does not define a maximum cable length but instead defines the maximum capacitance that a compliant drive circuit must tolerate. A widely-used rule-of-thumb indicates that cables more than 50 feet (15 metres) long will have too much capacitance, unless special cables are used. By using low-capacitance cables, full speed communication can be maintained over larger distances up to about 1,000 feet. For longer distances, other signal standards are better suited to maintain high speed.
Since the standard definitions are not always correctly applied, it is often necessary to consult documentation, test connections with a breakout box, or use trial and error to find a cable that works when interconnecting two devices. Connecting a fully-standard-compliant DCE device and DTE device would use a cable that connects identical pin numbers in each connector (a so-called "straight cable"). "Gender changers" are available to solve gender mismatches between cables and connectors. Connecting devices with different types of connectors requires a cable that connects the corresponding pins according to the table above. Cables with 9 pins on one end and 25 on the other are common. Manufacturers of equipment with 8P8C connectors usually provide a cable with either a DB-25 or DE-9 connector (or sometimes interchangeable connectors so they can work with multiple devices). Poor-quality cables can cause false signals by crosstalk between data and control lines (such as Ring Indicator).